Old City Market
- Type: Shopping, Neighborhood/Area
- Time to Spend: 1 to 2 hours
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While some may say that the Old City Market is a bit of a tourist trap, others call it a great glimpse into life in the Old South. It is often referred to as the "Slave Market" because it was here that slaves would purchase food for the plantation. Today, the market buzzes with residents and visitors alike, perusing stalls loaded with toys, clothes, leather goods and regional souvenirs. But if you plan on buying anything here, you should head straight to the "basket ladies." These women have been weaving baskets for centuries -- this craft originated in West Africa and has been passed down through the generations -- using local materials such as sweetgrass and palmetto leaves.
Although this is a great place to experience Southern charm and to people-watch, recent visitors recommend that buyers beware. According to one TripAdvisor user, "I can't vouch for the quality of the majority of the items sold there; more than likely, most are mass-produced and cheaply-made."
The Old City Market is located in the heart of Downtown Charleston and is open every day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. While you don't have to pay to browse, you might want to carry some extra cash on you in case the sweetgrass baskets prove to be too seducing. There are also plenty of places to eat scattered throughout the market.